Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats


The intentions which the Kremlin had regarding the Polish Army can
be seen from their procedure with the Czechs. On September 27th,
1941, for reasons of propaganda, the Kremlin concluded with the Provis-
ional Czecho-Slovak Government in London under Benes, a similar
agreement as that made with the Poles,, namely, to form a Czech Army
in the U.S.S.R. But the number of Czechs found actually in Russia itself
was so few that officially they could only form one brigade. In actual fact
one small battalion composed of Czechs and Slovaks, supplemented by
Carpathian Ruthenians and Austrians (called Sudeten-Germans by the
Soviets) came into existence. It was obvious the whole thing was merely
a question ofc face/
Soon General Anders had many thousands of men at his disposal
(50^000 at the end of October) and still the flood of returning people went
on, And if, in August, the Russians had thought of forming one or two
* representative * Polish divisions, the Polish authorities now considered
that by the end of the conscription, they would have enough men for ten
divisions. It was obvious from the start, however, that the Soviets did
not view the formation of a large Polish Army on the territory of the
U.S.S.R.5 with any great favour. With the commencement of the Red
Army's withdrawal along the entire front, the Soviet Government showed
a certain tendency towards genuine co-operation with the Poles, but it
was merely in the Russian sense of this term. The offices of the Comintern
had been sent far away to Ufa in the East, but its Polish Department went
to Kuibyshev as the Government obviously wished to keep the latter
dose at hand.
The Poles wished to build up a genuine fighting force, c an Army' as
the Agreement of July 1941 explicitly stated, bat the Soviets did not have
sufficient faith in the Poles to allow them to create such a strong force on
Russian soil. They handed out old type equipment and uniforms for one
division only, since, according to that Agreement, a division was the small-
est unit which could be sent to the front. This division was never given
the full quota of modern armaments, it possessed neither anti-aircraft, nor
anti-tank weapons, and yet the Soviets invited General Anders to send it
to the front line immediately.*' This was in October, when the German
tank armies were still driving eastwards. To send out these troops, so
poorly equipped in comparison with the average Russian or German
soldier, was to send them to certain slaughter. General Anders made it
quite clear he could not undertake such a risk, and asked for normal
equipment, in particular for anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns. Except for
the division previously mentioned, the Polish Army had no equipment.
The needs of a Polish Army were not catered for by Russia.
* When Sikorski inspected the forces in the Bii2iiluk camp on December 16th,
Moscow radio emphasised that all forces paraded and that the infantry was
" equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-tank artillery, with guns of the latest types.**
A statement which was incorrect.
34